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CMMS FAQ’s: Grading

What is Copper Mountain’s grading philosophy?

The purpose of grading is to communicate with students and parents about the mastery of specific learning goals.  It identifies students’ levels of progress with regard to those goals, areas of strength, and areas where additional time and effort are needed.

What is Standards-Based Grading?

Copper Mountain Middle uses Standards-Based Grading!  Standards are what teachers are required to teach and students are expected to learn at each grade level in each subject.  Class standards, or learning goals, are broken down into two parts: what students need to know and what students need to do.  In the past elements such as turning assignments in on time, participation in class, preparation, and behavior in class have been factored into the academic grade.  These factors are not a true representation of a student’s academic knowledge.  We believe students’ grades should be determined by how well they have mastered the standards.  At Copper Mountain we want the students’ grade to be the best reflection possible of what they have learned.

How do teachers determine when students achieve mastery?

Formative assessments are used to determine when students achieve mastery.  Formative Assessments can include paper/pencil tests, reports, essays, projects, presentations, and even a conversation where students can clearly show that a standard is mastered.  Students will have a lot of practice before an assessment and will be able to retake assessments to reach mastery for that quarter.  For each assessment, a student’s score will correlate with a proficiency scale of 4, 3, 2, or 1.

Students will know exactly what to expect for the assessment and where they need to be for mastery.  There is support for students who do not meet mastery.  Teachers use data collected through assessments to arrange for remediation opportunities during Colt Corral (Teacher Advisory period).  Additionally, tutoring is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school.  Also, teachers implement intervention as needed during class time.

What is the Proficiency Scale?

4 - Above Mastery - Students have demonstrated proficiency and can apply knowledge.

3 - Mastery - students have demonstrated proficiency.

2 - Approaching Mastery - Students have a general understanding of the concept but lack proficiency in key areas.

1 - Below Mastery - Students are unable to demonstrate understanding of the concept and cannot complete key tasks without support.

0 - Insufficient Evidence - Students did not complete the required assessment.

What are the advantages of Standards-Based Grading?

  • Students know which standards they have mastered and on which standard they need support.
  • Teachers are able to identify specific standards that need to be re-taught.
  • Feedback regarding grades is more meaningful for teachers, students, and parents.
  • Students have multiple opportunities to remediate and reassess to demonstrate mastery.
  • Conversations change from “what is missing?” to “what standards do I need to master?”